The victim-offender relationship and calling the police in assaults

Richard B. Felson, Steven F. Messner, Anthony Hoskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


The revised National Crime Victimization Survey is used to examine the effects of the victim's relationship to the offender on whether assaults are reported to the police by either the victim or by third parties. The results indicate that the offender-victim relationship affects third-party but not victim reporting. The former effect occurs in part because third parties are unlikely to witness assaults involving people in ongoing relationships, particularly couples, and in part because third parties are reluctant to report minor assaults (i.e., those assaults that involve a threat but no actual attack and no weapon). We discuss possible explanations for why no effect of relationship on victim reporting was found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)931-948
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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